… “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.” (Exodus 13:19)
It sits beside the road, its glory could be easily noticed, but now the time has gone by and traffic speeds on its way into Culpeper for bargains at one of the Superstores open 24/7. One must be traveling slowly and look to the right and there it is in the madness of timothy, foxtail, clover, and different types of grass almost covering its emplacement. Mother nature is doing its best to hide this interloper. We see these appointments of kindness due to a sense of sadness and loss alongside other roads and highways. Some complain to the Highway Departments that these are distracting and could cause accidents.
How highway monuments got started, when and where, no one knows, they have sprung up. Some are works of art and have tiny white stone encirclement and toys or some item that once belonged to the departed. They are a reminder of human weakness and moments of terrifying strokes of death and injury. Life and death decisions were made at these spots by rescue people and emergency medical technicians. Even though we somewhere at one time or another have been ‘forced’ in the workplace to watch films showing what speed and drugs and alcohol can do at 70 miles per hour on the roads, yet, we go out and still drive cars.
It is the cross, and those who sat it in the ground must believe that there is a God and that there is hope and that eventually somewhere beyond this arena of passing joys and moments of sadness is another place, eternal and there we shall all meet again.
I know, and you know that this could be an inappreciable place and why would anyone want to do this, sits a cross to be soon cast into the landfill or crushed by an attempt to mow and clear the byways for passing motorists. If I could answer that I would have the answers to more of those questions that all of us face from time to time and have to answer, “I don’t know!”
“A little girl was riding on the airplane across the Midwest to spend the summer with her grandparents. She was reading her favorite paperback, “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” when a young man took the vacant seat next to her. He attempted to start a conversation, “You know on long flights like this that time can pass more quickly if we have a conversation. I would like to tell you, Why there is no God and no heaven and nothing beyond this earth; you live, and then you die and that’s it”!
With that, the little girl looked up from her book “Do you know why a horse eats green grass and leaves behind round clumps, the cow eats the same grass and leaves behind round patties and the goat does the same and leaves little pellets?” The young man laughed, “I don’t know.”
The little girls said, “The farmer knows, and I know we have nothing to talk about,” and with that, she went back to reading, “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.”
The Cracked Acorn: Blessings
I remember Peter Jennings, the ABC News Anchor, when he told us that he has lung cancer. Mr. Jennings was a workaholic and had a busy life of marriages and reporting. He was easy to listen to and got straight to the point. I liked him and wished him a successful fight against his disease, of which only about 15% are cured. I also thought that once he was cured he could begin to “smell the roses” and enjoy much of the life he had missed. (He died at 67, the year 2005.)
Consider a period of great prosperity that changed everything and reached everyone but the Peach family always just barely got by, but paid their bills on time. The land was going up in price, but not everyone could sell and move away. The Smiths had to stick it out and stay where they were. The family increasingly found their small house shadowed by tall Mac Mansions. Mr. Smith would never mention it or told his wife that he was terribly depressed. Finally, when he could stand it no more, he confided in a close friend filled with practical wisdom.
“Fred, how many cars do you own?” his friend asked. “Well, I have an old Chevy and a rusty jeep. Why?” “Fred, go buy as many old clunkers you can find, have them towed to your property.”
“I don’t see what this has to do with anything, you’re crazy!” and Fred walked away. He couldn’t understand why his best friend would pass out such idiotic advice, eventually, Fred did what he never thought he would do. He found give-away cars and asked people to donate cars or trucks and leave them on his property.
When his friend stopped to visit, he told Fred that he was proud of him, but he needed to do one more thing. “Fred, there’s still room on the property close to the mailbox. I know someone who can’t get rid of his old cattle truck, call him up and take it off his hands for junk.”
Fred was in so deep that his wife was not speaking to him. So he swapped a Saturday of lawn work for the smelly old eighteen-wheeler; it now reposed by the mailbox, and you could no longer see the house. Yes, Fred knew he had completely gone around the bend, for what reason and purpose he didn’t know. His friend now told him to call the salvage yard and have it all cut into scrap.
Cleared, Fred saw his property as much larger and noticed that his small house was really lovely and had many fine features. His wife now spoke to him, and they begin to build a closer bond with themselves and their blessings. (thanks to an old Russian Folk Tale)
WHEN UPON LIFE’S BILLOWS YOU ARE TEMPTEST-TOSSED, WHEN YOU ARE DISCOURAGED, THINKING ALL IS LOST, COUNT YOUR MANY BLESSINGS, NAME THEM ONE BY ONE, AND IT WILL SURPRISE YOU WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE.
(Hymn lyrics SACRED SELECTIONS)
— sell all that thou hast, LUKE 18:18-23
The Cracked Acorn: Growing Old
Many yesterdays ago, I was involved in lots of car repairs. I was much younger and took it in stride that I was going to become the master mechanic. After several automobile restorations I began to think, was it really worth the trouble. My father was still in good health working on the farm. In one of my visits from Virginia to Kentucky, I confided in my dad and told him it was becoming too much. I was beginning to take naps in the garage, while under the car. Dad replied that he had been doing this for years; it could be under a tractor or the combine. (He once told me that when he was old; I would also be old. I just hadn’t realized that it had happened this quickly.)
The Bible tells us that people lived into the 900s before the Flood, Methuselah, at 969. This declined till about 1000 B.C. and then maybe 70 or 80 (Psalm 90:10). Starting in 1900 U.S. life expectancy has risen from 47 to an average age of 83, today. In this added time, we should “number” our days (Psalm 90:12). We should discern the future. (Deut. 32:28-29). We should consider how life will turn out. (Psalm 39:4-5) We will live even longer if we consider our speech/behavior. (Psalm 34:11-14; I Peter 3:10-11) We should love the Lord. (Psalm 91:14-16) Obey the Lord. (Proverbs:3:1-2,4:10) We should fear and grow in the knowledge of the Lord. (Proverbs 9:10-11; 10:27)
Here are some humorous remarks from people of the past:
All would live long, but none would be old. Age is something that doesn’t matter unless you are cheese. The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children. No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement. The older I grow, the more I distrust the family doctrine that age brings wisdom. None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm. Age doesn’t protect you from love, but love to some extent protects you from age. Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative. Perhaps one has to be very old before one learns to be amused rather than shocked. You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come into contact with new ideas. (My favorite!) How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young?
Recently there have been several specials on TV about the NEW AGE and evangelistic movements supposedly sweeping our nation. I am not sure if we are looking at this from a close-up or from afar. I do not see within these vast audiences a sea of gray hair. Has the present generation forgotten that ‘An aged person loved is winter with flowers’ (old German proverb). The older generation is the “splendor” of today. (Proverbs 20:39) Psalm 92:13 and 14 says, “These who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.” Older people are the bearers of fundamental human values. When this is lacking, people become rootless. People lose hope in the future and live within the limits of the present. (from the Dignity of Older People)
The Cracked Acorn: Texting
“You shall have no other gods before me. ” – Exodus 20:3
Text messaging, or texting is a colloquial term referring to the exchange of brief written messages between mobile phones, over cellular networks. While the term most often refers to messages sent using the Short Message Service (SMS), it has been extended to include messages containing images, videos, and sound content, such as MMS messages. Individual messages are referred to as “text messages” or “texts”. The most common application of the service is person-to-person messaging, but text messages are also used to interact with automated systems, such as ordering products and services for mobile phones or participating in contests. Advertisers and service providers use texts to notify mobile phone users about promotions, payment due dates, and other notifications that were previously sent by post or left in voicemail. There are internet services available that allow users to send text messages free of direct charge to the sender. (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
This is not really news. Over the years the service has attempted to cope with emergency beepers and cell phones that go off with YANKEE DOODLE and kids toys that play songs from SNOW WHITE; these interruptions may provide comic relief, but they remind us that the world is just an electronic impulse away. If you pay a few hundred dollars to go to the opera or to a special one-time presentation at the Kennedy Center, a cell phone or any interruption while the tenor is singing can cause your removal from the audience.
Multimedia screens are another encroachment in the church. Some are using this device to display the bulletin, immediate news for the church family, and later the lyrics to the songs being sung. Many are saying this is good for visitors who see this type of outreach used elsewhere and expect us to follow. Those of us who do not hear too well could possibly understand the need for a multi-media project. There is nothing new under the sun this is true. Many years ago I was involved in a project to wire the church building to make sure that wherever you were when preaching was going on, that you would not miss the sermon. It went as far as breaking a hole through the cement blocks in the back to put a window in the “baby room”: preacher said he didn’t like that one!
Texting shortened English:
Little bird in d sky dropped snuff in my eye, i didn’t scream, i didn’t cry,just thanked God dat cows don’t fly , bcoz it myt cover d CUTE face of mine.
A husband coming home from church and lifts his wife and carries her on his shoulder. Wife: Did d preacher tell u 2 b so romantic like this? Husband: No, he told me 2 carry my cross.
The Cracked Acorn: Skakertown
You may not know where Shakertown, Kentucky is; I do. Before the new four-lane from Bowling Green to Russellville was completed, I passed by there on my way to visit my parents at Auburn.
Shakertown, presently a monastery, consists of several dormitory-type dwellings, built by the Shakers of the late 1800s. They took in orphans left on the doorstep and lived the simple life. My
father recalled seeing the young girls working in the fields. The settlement was destroyed by a summer twister many years ago.
(Ann Lee (29 February 1736 – 8 September 1784), commonly known as Mother Ann Lee, was the founding leader of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, or the Shakers.)
Now you can drive by and see the monks walking the “Stations of the Cross.”
What touched my thoughts was an internet obituary from the local newspaper: Father Kenneth Frye, 47, of South Union (Shakertown) had passed and is to be buried in the Fathers of Mercy Cemetery. (I could have seen Kenneth, devoted to his walks, on my trips.)
The faithful of the Shakers are gone and now other faithful have replaced them, and they, too are going to their rest.
How far have we come since Jesus bowed his head and said “It is finished.” Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, wrote that “wolves would enter, not sparing the flock.” (Acts 20:39) In the number of years since these words were written, many religions and denominations have sprung up with their believers working hard to convert the world to their interpretation of the easy Word of God.
So, Kenneth Frye, a follower of Catholicism, rest in peace. You were faithful to your belief and because of it, you denied yourself of a family, a father of your children, and a wife who would have loved you every day. Was it worth it?
What have we denied following the Cross of Jesus?
Are we seriously treading the narrow road of the old paths of the prophets and Godly people of the Bible?
Till HE comes,
I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS,
NO TURNING BACK! NO TURNING BACK!
The Cracked Acorn: Eden
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.” – Genesis 2:8
The grandchildren wanted to know why grandma was always reading her Bible. They decided that it must be like school; she was studying for her finals.
The SECRETS OF THE BIBLE – will test your knowledge of the Bible. From a child I have always wondered if they would ever find the spot of the Garden of Eden;it was the Sunday morning children’s dream of the docile animals and the fruit that would keep one young forever.
With refinements of aerial photography, GPS, and global tectonic studies, several theories point to the great possibility that there was such a place. Writing started about 3000 B.C.; two of the four rivers mentioned in the Bible are still here today- the Tigris (Daniel 10:4) and the “Prat” known from ancient texts and translated today as the well-known Euphrates.
The idea of an Eden would have been known to the race of Sumerians in that area -the fertile crescent- and passed down to the Babylonians, and the Assyrians and finally to the Israelites and then making its way into the Hebrew Bible. Another conjecture is that if the Garden of Eden was to be any place on earth it would have been near the previously mentioned rivers.
A professor at Southwest Missouri University has suggested that the underwater area where the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers spill into the present Persian Gulf would have been the likely place in ancient times.
A rather unknown idea is that “the Garden of Eden, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the story of Abraham – all took place in a small area between the Black Sea in the Ararat range in Turkey” and one scientist claims to have identified four of the rivers of Eden from NASA satellite photography and further this same person claims to know the location of the ark of the covenant, the Ten Commandments, Solomon’s Temple, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Tower of Babel.
If all these places are found and certified, will it change the way we think of the Bible; I doubt it! Biblical studies point to the conclusion that “man may never find Eden outside the pages of God’s WORD.”
Meanwhile, Grandma can keep on reading her Bible and believing every word as God gave it.
The Cracked Acorn: Good-bye
It is one word in the English language that I have never come to grips with, “Good-Bye!” Before I can say it, there’s the moistening of the eyes and a slight tightening of the throat, the cords hunt for the sounds that mean separation for a time or longer. A look out the window helps to pull one’s self together to say that word not often said, “Good-Bye!”
Now that we have all had a touch of frost, the air does seem cleaner and crisp. Early on weekday mornings, I might hear the train whistle at the Haymarket crossing. It’s that lonesome sound that reminds me of my youth when trains stopped in every town to pick up mail and passengers.
When I was maybe 5 years old, I was with my mother when she took my aunt to nearby Auburn, Kentucky to catch the L&N (Louisville and Nashville) to Louisville. We waited in the station room until we heard the whistle and the clanging bell, smoke, and steam as the train pulled to a stop at the station’s back door. We are all familiar with airports, but I don’t think many are with train stations. At the airport, it is a quick hug and then off but with trains, it seems you have an eternity to say “good-bye”. You can wave at boarding and even while the train gathers speed to leave for the big city.
The Hawaiians’ “aloha” may be a better word which means hello and good-by or farewell. Aloha says thank you for sharing your life, energy, and breath with us, and thank you for making us aware that we are all family. Good-bye, so I found in the dictionary, is an alteration of God be with you, suggesting an unknown break of time till we see each other again, and during that period we will need God’s protection and assurance that all will work out for those leaving and for those who remain.
“I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, remembering the words that the Lord Jesus himself said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.” When Paul finished, he knelt down with them all and prayed. They were all crying as they hugged Paul and kissed him goodbye. They were especially sad at the words he had said that they would never see him again. And so they went with him to the ship. We said goodbye to them and left. (ACTS 20: 35-21:1) TODAY’S ENGLISH VERSION